While running a home daycare can be an amazing way to supplement your family’s income and stay home with your own children, it can also be very difficult for them. They are expected to share their toys, their space, their home and their very own mommy (or daddy) with the many other children that come through.
It’s not the same as having siblings either, because daycare kiddos come and go, have different rules, and have their own parents that they get to themselves while they’re at home. My own daughter even had to share her bedroom with 4 daycare kiddos for a time! Needless to say, she didn’t actually sleep in her own room during naptime. We really do ask a lot of our own kids when starting a home daycare. So here are a few ways to make life a little easier for your own child:
Separate the daycare toys from your child’s toys. Allow your child to have their own collection of things that they are not required to share. Our rule was that my daughter could play with her own toys on her own outside of the playroom. Any toy brought into the playroom would be considered fair game and would fall under daycare rules when it came to sharing.
Differentiate between “Daycare Rules” and “Family Rules”. For example, during daycare hours, I didn’t allow food to leave the kitchen unless we were having snack time outdoors that day. But after the daycare was closed for the day, we often had tv time or a movie night in the basement with, of course, lots of popcorn, drinks and other goodies.
Allow your child to play alone or with other friends, as long as you’re able to safely supervise them. Our own kids have to be with the daycare kids every hour that you’re open. Sometimes they just need a break!
Implement special treats or routines into your schedule, out of view of the daycare kids. My daughter got to spend naptime in mommy’s bed with a book and a small snack that I would sneak to her after the daycare kids were asleep. I would also take the opportunity to give her a quick cuddle and extra hugs and kisses. It didn’t happen every single day, but most days it did, and it really seemed to go a long way in helping her cope with sharing everything. When my own 3 were all school age, I would bake just enough cookies for them during naptime. When they got home from school, I would keep the daycare kids playing outside, and my own kids could enjoy their fresh cookies in the relative peace and quiet of the kitchen.
Schedule special family-only activities or outings on the weekends or evening. Often I would pack a picnic supper during naptime and as soon as the last daycare child was gone for the evening, we would pile into the van and head straight for the beach. It was an easy, cheap way to spend some time with our own kiddos that didn’t take much planning. We also took a few trips on the weekends that were only one or two nights, but were just enough to give all of us a break from the daycare we called home.
Does your child ever struggle with living in a home daycare?
How do you make it easier for your family?